Where is your wilderness?

        We gathered for Ash Wednesday last week and as part of our time together, thinking on Jesus’ journey into the wilderness for prayer and time with God before beginning his ministry, we put together a cup with stones and water and a Spring bulb. The idea is that we watch over this bulb, keeping it watered and nurturing it, throughout the season of Lent and watch it transform into a beautiful flower. It should be ready to bloom right about the time we gather for Easter celebrations’ of Jesus’ resurrection.

As I’ve watched the bulbs here in the church and at my home, I’ve contemplated the transformation that is possible within myself this Lenten season. I gave up television and have cut back my news consumption drastically. In the absence of these two vices I’ve spent more time in prayer and study. I’m going through our prayer list here at the church and I’m thinking of individuals I know outside of our little faith family. I’m reading “Behold, I Do a New Thing” by C. Kirk Hadaway. The premise of the book is that you don’t have to do anything ‘new’ to transform, you just have to revisit the purpose behind ‘what’ you do and do that with the passion that was there in the very beginning.

So, my contemplation these days is all about my call to ministry. Why I’m here. The reasons are still the same…my overwhelming love for Jesus Christ and wanting to share and help others be open to ALL the wonder of what comes with sharing a life of service to Him. While that has never gone away, I think sometimes the busy-ness of what I do gets in the way of why I do it. My wilderness has become a time of wandering through finding ways to stay connected to my why instead of my what.

The same could be said of the church, as a whole. Are we staying connected to our why? Or, is the what consuming us? How can we keep our ministries focused on our why? I think the answer to that will lead us back to our own wildernesses.  We who lead the church can only effectively do so if we continue to keep our own connections strong. For the church to accomplish our calling, our members must be strongly rooted in the faith. As I watch these bulbs grow, I realize that what is going on under the water level and among the stones is more important than that shoot and flower that will soon emerge in the space above. I’m also certain that the quality of the flower that is to come will fully depend on how well those roots grow and form and how well we attend to their nurture in these early days.

Does any of this make you stop and think and wonder…and wander? I’d love to hear how your bulb is growing. (If you don’t have one yet, we still have some to share.)